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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: MMO IP You'd Love to See, But Never Will?

Posted by MikeB Thursday October 28 2010 at 3:10PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "MMO IP you'd love to see, but never will?" by dnarris. The subject of the thread should come as no surprise, dnarris wants to know what intellectual properties the MMORPG.com community would love to see as an MMO, but know will never realistically happen:

"So what IP would you love to see become the next major MMO, but are pretty sure won't?

I personally would love to see a Robotech/Macross MMO.

I've always enjoyed the lore in that series and would be really happy to see a MMO set in that world. What fan wouldn't want to be a Veritech pilot or a Zentradi warrior.

Seeing how the IP is pretty old and not very popular anymore. I imagine it'll never find itself to MMO status."

fatenabu has some interesting ideas for a Highlander MMO:

"Highlander, modern or near future setting with perma-death.

Make people gain levels by doing quest killing npcs type crap but also have them gain levels by pvp. You take the head of a fellow player and there level is added to yours. Yes this would make crazy hard pvp but, that is sort of hour it is in Highlander. Levels would be used to increase stats like STR, DEX, INT, WIS, CON, CHA (to use the default D&D ones as example) Also only way skills would be raised is by training or taking the head of another, see below.

I would also want some sandbox? UO type things to it. What I mean by this it would be cool to see you be able to train on dummies etc in a martial arts studio etc depending on your weapon type and combat style and gain skillsthat way. Instead of having class types have weapon skills. The game could techincally throw in spell usages such as the old chinese guy in Highlander 3, if needed to give  people a variety. This too though would be done in skills.

Explaination of Quickenings

During PVP would the main time for Quickenings. When one player takes the head of another. The level of that character will be added to the one who is experiencing the Quickenings. As states this would increase stats of the character. Also PVP can only be one on one, and not on holy ground due to tradition :-) Also the winner of said duel would gain the skills of the defeated immortal. This by far would be the most important part of the Quickening. Thus if one immortal has a swordsman ship of 70 and the other has one of 50 and by chance due to saying the character with a 50 swordsman ship wins and will now have a 120 swordsmanship.  Skills would be hard to raise and also max skill level would be 300 per skill and then a total of so many points can only be gained through out all skills. This would prevent a character that can do everything.

Combat would be twitch based combat with some type of combo system where one combat specility skill would lead into another. This would allow for decapitation to only take place during certain times in combat. I would say the special combat skills would vary per weapon and how many skill levels you have in given weapon."

Diovidius has a few ideas, including Pokemon, Zelda, and Heroes of Might and Magic:

"Pokemon, even though I long lost interest in both the show and the games I think a living breathing world filled with pokemon and trainers would be great. It would be mainly a PvP game but I don't really know how the mechanics would work. Would you just give orders to the pokemon or would you actually actively control the pokemon? Of course there would be no classes as such however pokemon each have their own element(s) and speciality.

Further more, I too endorse a Zelda MMO, it would have to be a true action/adventure/rpg hybrid though if it would want to be true to the singleplayer games while still giving that sense of progression which more classic mmorpgs have. This means active controls, you have to aim and move around during combat and press buttons to attack etc instead of letting your character do these things for you. This also means solving puzzels zelda/tomb raider style. I actually fleshed out an idea for this based on the Ocarina of Time but set just before it's events with 7 races and 9 classes.

I think I would thoroughly enjoy a Heroes of Might and Magic or Age of Wonders -like mmo (in other words a fantasy realtime or turn based strategy game with heavy rpg elements).

Even more out there ideas I had at certain points were a Final Fantasy Tactics mmo and a Golden Sun mmo.

Harry Potter as others have mentioned and a Avatar: The Last Airbender I could enjoy but only if they are done in a mature way."

Zyonne would love to see the Discworld IP get the MMO treatment:

"I'd love to see a Discworld MMO. Then again, the Discworld MUD already exists, and is close to perfect except for obviously lacking graphics. I'd expect something similar, and just be disappointed when they released a wow clone instead of something like a modern version of UO with a more advanced skill system. Oh well, it'll never happen, but I do think the game world and setting would make a great backdrop for an MMO. The lore, and locations would be mostly pre-defined, and awesome, but the developers would have (close to) full creative freedom when it came to designing game mechanics."

These days, I'm not convinced that any IP is an unlikely contender for an MMO, as it seems just about anything (The Mummy MMO, really?) can get a green light nowadays. However, with that said I still think Pokemon is one of the most fitting IPs to deserve the MMO treatment that isn't ever likely to do so. Nintendo is pretty strict with their IPs and especially when it comes to kids and I just don't see them getting into that area. I mean, look how contrived the friend system is on the Wii. Do you honestly think Nintendo has the stomach for MMOs then? Probably not.

It's a shame too. While I'm not a rabid Pokemon fan, the game would fit like a glove as an MMO. Collecting and leveling monsters to do battle with, enormous potential for some good PvP, an already established world and characters. There's just so much depth, it's practically structured as an MMO already, it's just missing the massively multiplayer part.

What IPs do you think would make great MMOs, but aren't likely to see the light of day? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Dreams for Fallout Online

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday October 27 2010 at 4:40PM
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So I’ve been doing a lot of Fallout: New Vegas dabbling.  No, this was not the game that caused me so much trouble recently, and no I’m still not going to say what that game was.  But in any case, I’ve not yet experienced the multitude of bugs and glitches that so many folks are reporting on in Obsidian’s sequel to Bethesda’s Fallout 3.  By and large the Gamebryo engine is starting to really show its age, but the nuances and little touches that give a Fallout game its character are still here.  Especially considering that a lot of the staff from Fallout 1 and 2 are currently housed at Obsidian.  It’s not perfect, but the exploration and interaction with New Vegas’ world is mesmerizing.  It’s the kind of immersion I dream about when I ponder what MMOs could be.

For some time now there have been rumblings that Bethesda is hard at work on an Elder Scroll MMO.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but considering how quiet that massively successful series has been of late, I’m sure these rumblings aren’t far off.  Additionally it seems that Interplay, a company pretty much on the brink, is putting all of its last remaining eggs into the basket of making a Fallout MMO for themselves through some creative licensing agreement loopholes.  And recently one of the Interplay developers has stated that they hope to make the Fallout MMO have just as much irreverence as the first two titles were known for.  Some of which can also be seen by taking the “Wild Wasteland” perk in New Vegas. 

I look at a game like Fallen Earth, which is sort of a PvE sandbox with a lot of inspiration from the Fallout or Wasteland games of old, and I say to myself that there’s just something missing.  I love Fallen Earth, as my review here will attest.  But I have trouble putting a finger on why I fell out of playing the game.  Admittedly, few MMOs keep me interested these days for more than a few weeks at a time.  In my recent years, I’ve become a game hopper, dipping in and out and resubscribing as often as I please to my favorites to keep tabs on their development.  It works best for me.  But then there was Fallout 3.  A single-player experience that had me catalog well over one hundred hours on one save file. 

Why did I do that?  I can surmise that it was because, like the Elder Scrolls games before it, the world has so much to offer.  The main quest drives a specific narrative, but there’s so much little minutia to take part in that you can spend hour after hour never advancing the mains story.  So when a Fallout MMO comes, while I’m no developer, I hope that the powers that be do their best to back away from the usual “quest hub with exclamation marks” routine.  Instead, I hope they give us a massive world to explore and find quests on our own.  I want a quest-driven game that’s somehow less obvious about where to go and what to do.  I want a general direction given to me, and then just let me do the rest.  The hard part will be giving thousands of players moral choices that affect the direction of the world the way FO3 and New Vegas do.  But if ArenaNet can figure it out, and the FO MMO is still a couple years away, here’s hoping they’re paying attention.

What else do you want your ideal Fallout MMO to be?  Or has Fallen Earth pretty much cornered that market for you?

BlizzCon LiveBlog -CONCLUDED

Posted by MikeB Friday October 22 2010 at 10:16AM
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We are now liveblogging BlizzCon 2010. A refresh is required to view updates!

11:00AM - Opening Ceremony begins.

11:01AM - Gary Platner - Lead Environment Artist on WoW enters stage.

11:04AM - Blizzard CEO & President  Mike Morhaime enters stage.

11:05AM - Mike discusses WoW's five year anniversary, and the fact that WoWs population is at 12 million and growing.

11:09AM - Starcraft 2 team working on new game types, Starjeweled, Blizzard DOTA. Will be free.

11:10AM - New Charity pet, a moonkin coming in November for World of Warcraft.

11:12AM - 2010 is a big year for Blizzard, as they will be launching two games. Blizzard has not put out two games in one year since 1998. Of course, the two games are StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

11:15AM -  11:19AM Highlight reel of past year. Starts with Blizzcon 2009, noting the Diablo III Monk class reveal and WoW Cataclysm announcement. BlizzCon dance contest follows. StarCraft 2 global launch, gamers from all around the world talking about the launch of StarCraft 2.  StarCraft 2 International competition montage. Winner Fruit Dealer shown (guy won $90,000!). Reel ends.

11:19AM - Fruit Dealer and Slayers Box(sp?) will participate in an exhibition match for StarCraft II.

11:20AM - Mike discusses the BlizzCon 2010 schedule.

11:21AM - Jay Mohr returns to host costume contest at BlizzCon. This is his fourth year in a row.

11:21AM - Mike needed a band with the power to kill a yak from 200 yards away with mind bullets, and plays their guitars with picks of destiny, Tenacious D, the only band that could possibly top Ozzy from last year.

11:22AM - Cataclysm launches Dec 7, beta test has been going great. Can play Cataclysm beta at Blizzcon.

11:23AM - Players can pre-order Cataclysm directly from Blizzard and pre-load the game content so that players can get started right away. Catacylsm launches midnight PST on Dec. 7. Pre-orders will go live soon.

11:24AM - Diablo 3 reveal...

11:24AM - Christ Metzen, Senior VP of Creative Development enters stage.

11:25AM - Chris plays a game with the audience. Word association. First word: Horde. Crowd cheers/boos.

11:26AM - Second word: Diablo.

11:26AM - Third word: Alliance

11:27AM - Fourth word: Have you played any RTS lately? Starcraft.

11:29AM - Fifth word: Geek.

11:30AM - Chris kicks off a slideshow discussing the meaning of "Geek."

11:35AM - This is going on way too long.. Get to the point Chris!

11:36AM - Chris shows a slide of a Night Elf and makes a joke about watching the Navi hunting in the jungle. Lols all around.

11:39AM - GEEK bit finally ends.

11:40AM - "Phase 2" begins. Chris explains pointo f the bit, Blizzard makes giant video games, and that it can often feel like big business, but that the truest spirit of BlizzCon are the fans, and that BlizzCon is about the collective geekiness. Ahh, it all comes together. BlizzCon is about inspiration.

11:41AM - Chris gets to business now. Diablo fans, where you at?!

11:41AM - Last ofur years they've been debuting the latest Diablo III classes. Fifth and final PC class for Diablo III coming. Traile begins

11:42AM - Hooded figure in armor leans over a corpse. Crows cawing.

11:44AM - DEMON HUNTER REVEALED.

11:45AM - Chick is rocking sweet armor and dual crossbows. That's right, dual crossbows.

11:46AM - Diablo III gets PvP battle arenas. PvP trailer shown. PvP battles playable at BlizzCon.

11:53AM - Opening Ceremony concludes.

Check back at 12:30PM PST for our liveblog of the Diablo III gameplay section.

12:28PM - Diablo 3 section begins.

12:28PM - Demon Hunter users traps and gadgets. She's in it for one and one thing only, killing demons. Will do whatever it takes to make sure hell doesn't get a foothold in sanctuary.

12:29PM - First skill revealed for Demon Hunter. Bola Shot, wraps around target. Vault - Shadow theme. Spike Trap - gadgets and shadow, sense of preparation.

12:31PM - Grenades, can bounce off the floor, off the walls. Demon Hunter is about ranged attacks, gadgetry, preparation, planning. "Pre-meditated demon killing going on."

12:32PM - Multi Shot returns for Diablo 3.

12:33PM - Kevin Martiens Lead Content Designer comes on stage. Discusses new changes for Diablo III. Kevin discusses the skill UI reiterations. From tabbed to list, to the current UI. The UI makes it easier for players to manage their skills at a glance. Leveling up unlocks slots, and you can place skills into seven slots. The new UI makes it easier to upgrade skills. Players can put up to 5 points in a skill initially, but there will be ways to increase this limit.

12:36PM - New skills are being discussed by Wyatt Cheng, Diablo III Technical Game Designer. Barbarian gets a ranged attack called Ancient Spear. However, he is still a melee character and they don't want anyone to get confused about this. Wizard's are getting Meteor from Diablo II, though it is re-invisioned. You can acquire runes for Meteor, which makes it way more awesome.

12:37PM - Witch Doctor gets Spirit Walk, turns into corporeal form and pass through enemies, allows him to teleport to a location. Monk gets the Wave of Light that summons a mystical bell that is a combination of a ranged and melee attack.

12:38PM - Traits are being discussed by Jay Wilson, Diablo III game director. Traits are passive skills that allow players to diversify character builds. Traits are gained every other level. Traits alter core attributes and mechanics of your class. Barbarians can be stronger with Traits, Wizards can focus on elemental skills with traits. Traits help add flavor to the game world by giving players flavor text that tell you something about the Diablo III world.

Barbarian Inner Rage trait shown. "While most orders teach the merits of calming the seas of the soul, guardians of Arreat have embraced the raging inner storm" - Chronicler Raygres.

Wizard Trait - Prismatic Cloak - increaes the effects of ice armor and storm armor by 100%. "An icy mist that freezes to the bone, the low hum and spark of electricity in the air...even touching a Wizard can have dire consequences."

12:41PM - Blizzard implemented traits to push character customization. Diablo II had attribute points to foster customization, but most players used the same build, even across classes. Traits are meant to make these builds unique to classes. Barbarians can take Legendary Might to increase strength, or Iron Skin for more armor. Berserker Barbarians can take traits to increase attack rates and power of debuffs on enemies. Every class has roughly 30 traits, can spend 1-5 points in each trait, totalling 90 points per character. However, only 30 points can be acquired, ensuring variety in builds.

12:43PM - Active vs. Passive Skills. Active skills now completley make up the skill system, while the more math-related passive skills are better suited to Traits. They don't want them to be boring though, so you won't have traits that give you .01% more armor. The customization will be straightforward and simple to grasp, trait values will be bigger.

12:44PM - Discusses what they aren't happy with regards to Traits. Gaining traits every other level they aren't sure about, they think there are too many traits, and the UI needs work.

12:45PM - Kevin begins to discuss  the new Talisman feature by referring back to Charms in Diablo II. They liked charms, but gamers kept a ton of charms and didn't have much inventory space. Talisman will solve this issue by being a dedicated inventory for your charms. The Talisman grows over time. You still have more charms than you can fit in your Talisman, but you have a dedicated spot to do it.

Charms themselves have evolved as well. Diablo II bonuses were too broad, Diablo III charms focus on your core atrributes.  Bronze Cross of Brawn (magic charm) shown, confers +6 strength.

12:47PM - Julian Love "Explosions Guy" Lead Technical Artist discusses skill runes. Runes will be available in the playable version of Diablo III here at the show. Skill runes allow players to customize their skills. Similar to modifiyng items, they allow you to modify your skills by modifying what they do.  Skill runes will allow for 96, 886,969, 344 builds per class.

12:51PM -  Skill runes don't just change what a skill does, but also changes the way each skill looks.  Zombie bears illustrated as an example.

12:52PM - Five types of runes: Crimson, Indigo, Obsidian, Golden, Alabastar. Each type is loosely themed. Example Witch Doctor - Poison Dart is used. Indigo runes allows Poison Dart to rapid fire. Alabastar Rune changes Poison Dart into a fired off snake that wraps itself around the enemies face and stuns it.

12:54PM - Seven ranks for each rune type. The ranks make the effects of a rune more extreme. Example: Wizard - Magic Missile. Shoots 1 missile per cast un-runed. Indigo Rune rank 1 - shoots two missiles per cast. Indigo Rune rank 7 - tons and tons of missiles.

12:55PM - Weapon Throw for Barbarian. Obsidian Rune changes it into a hammer that stuns characters. Indigo rune changes it into an AOE by ricocheting. Golden rune allows the Barbarian to throw a corpse as a weapon.

More examples. Wizard - Hydra. Crimson Rune - chilling  breath. Indigo - Lightning hydra, never misses. Alabastar - Arcane Hydra, shoots mini arcane orbs for AOE damage. Obsidian - acid hydra, melts monsters. Golden rune - creates fire walls.

12:58PM - Witch Doctor - Plague of Toads.  Runes can allow for fire toads, a rain of toads, giant toads that eats enemies (doesn't digest the loot though!).

12:59PM - Battle arenas. First approach to PVP. Dedicated place for all your dueling needs. People loved to duel in Diablo II. Diablo II didn't support it very well however. Battle arenas focus on team based play. Given the fact Diablo III has 97 billion builds and they can't balance everything (though they want to balance things as much as they can), they admit that some builds are going to be better than others in PvP, and focusing on team play softens that balance by making it more about your teams build than your own build.

1PM - Items, skills traits from PVE characters transfer over to PvP. It's about taking a PvE character and building it into a PVP monster. Zombie bears shown in PvP.

1:01PM - Some skills designed specific for PvP.

1:02PM - PvE has a lot of controls, so PvP has a lot of counters so you can get out of crowd control instead of being focused on CC. Witch Doctor fears Barbarian, Barbarian uses Ignore Pain to break out of it.  They show combos such as a Wizard teleporting to someone, freezing them, and shattering them with a Meteor.

1:03PM - PvP battles are not single bouts but several rounds (round limit not nailed down yet). Battle.net will offer PVP match making and they are looking into custom games outside of ranking systems. They also want to allow for 1on1 even though it wont be balanced. Finally, there will be a progression-based ranking system as opposed to StarCraft II's skill-based ranking system.  If you win a match, you get points, which gives you an advancement in rank, giving you titles, achievements, etc. Losing also awards progression points.

1:04PM - Q&A portion skipped, no time. Diablo III panel ends. :(

Check back at 4:30PM PST for our WoW Live Raids liveblog.

4:46PM - WoW Live Raid panel begins.

4:49PM -  The raid being demoed is the Defense of Orgrimmar. There are many twilight drakes attacking Orgrimmar. Paragon (the EU guild who downed Lich King 25 Heroic first) will be defending Orgrimmar. Paragon has no idea what is coming. Magmadar has also been spawned as well as some other old favorites from Molten Core.

4:50PM - Paragon attacks, forming strats on the fly. Things aren't looking too good, Paragon is taking a ton of damage. Panelists joke "You guys want to stay out of the fire!"

4:51PM - The raid seems to be in the process of getting wiped and most of the bosses have been barely dented.

4:52 - One of the panelists comments that the WoW team learned from last year and they are not giving anyone any free wins during the live raid panel this time.

4:53PM - Paragon respawns and buffs back up, ready to go jump into the fray.

4:54PM - Shazzrah is at 40%, but things aren't going too well. 

4:55PM - Paragon wipes.

4:56PM - Paragon gets ready to jump in for round three.

4:57PM - Paragon is trying to spread the bosses around. They take down Gehennas.

4:58PM - Paragon goes for Magmadar next, while Shazzrah really puts the pressure on them.

5:00PM - Magmadar goes down.

5:00PM - Paragon switches to Baron Geddon.

5:01PM - Baron Geddon goes down. Last but not least is Shazzrah.

5:02PM - Paragon takes out Shazzrah, completing wave one of the Defense of Orgrimmar.

5:02PM - Blackwing Lair bosses and Blackrock Spire bosses spawn in on Paragon.

5:05PM - The panelists suggest that Paragon take out Chromaggus first. Paragon is formulating a strategy before heading in.

5:05PM - Paragon goes for Drakkisath first.

5:08PM - Drakkisath goes down.

5:08PM - Paragon switches to Chromaggus, while a Goblin DK tanks The Beast away from the main fight.

5:10PM - Chromaggus goes down. Paragon switches to Broodlord Lashlayer. For those of you curious, Paragon is bringing roughly 200,000 DPS to the fight.

5:11PM - Panelists joke about initiating wave 3 while Paragon tanks and spanks wave 2. Lashlayer goes down, and Paragon now focuses on the final boss, The Beast.

5:12PM - The Beast goes down. Wave 2 complete.

5:13PM - Wave 3 consists of four Cataclysm bosses that have been "juiced up." Each boss is pushing something like 21 million HP. One of the panelists comments this is no big deal when you're bringing 200K DPS. One of the other panelists notes that there are four of them, which makes things just a wee bit different.

5:16PM - The bosses being fought are Throngus, Ozruk, Rom'ogg Bonecrusher. Throngus really hurt Paragon with a massive flame shield attack.

5:17PM - Rom'ogg's adds are really taking out Paragon, leading to a wipe.

5:19PM - Paragon goes in for round two.

5:20PM - Rom'ogg is first on the agenda. 300K DPS...

5:21PM - Paragon is taking heavy losses, it's looking pretty bad.

5:22PM - Wow. Paragon takes down Rom'ogg with only two raid members living and all tanks dead.

5:22PM - The panel is running a bit late, so they are moving on to phase four, skipping the other three bosses.

5:23PM - The dragons begin their assault on Orgrimmar using an aerial attack. The dragons attacking Orgrimmar include Firemaw, Warchief Rend Blackhand, Vaelian the Corrupt, and Pheralion.

5:26PM -Firemaw goes down.

5:27PM - Paragon gets a buff, as their DPS now skyrockets to 7 million. One of the panelists casually mentions that he "migt have helped them a little."

5:28PM - Paragon takes out Rend Blackhand. Panelists promise a special treat. Pheralion is the last boss.

5:29PM - Deathwing flies in to Orgrimmar torching all of Paragon instantly.

5:30PM -The WoW Live Raid panel concludes.

Community Spotlight: What MMO Would You Make?

Posted by MikeB Thursday October 21 2010 at 3:20PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "If someone offered you 50 million dollars to create your own MMORPG, what would you make?" by cyphers. Our forums are full of MMO gamers from all stripes and so cyphers simply wants to know what our readers would actually create if they had the means to do so:

"As the title says: if someone offered you 50 million dollars and the dev team needed to create a MMORPG, what would you make?

And what kind of gameplay features and mechanics would you design to be in it?"

Creslin321 has got it all worked out:

"My MMORPG would have (but not be limited to) the following features:

  1. No "tiered" content, the entirety of the world will be potentially useful to any character in the game.  There will be character advancement, but it will be "broad" more so than deep.  There will also be easier and harder monsters, but defeating them will rely more on having the correct skills than just haven't leveled enough.
  2. Dynamic player housing - Players will be able to build houses and/or shops just about anywhere in the world, thought i may be prohibited in certain "protected" areas.
  3. Service economy - Players will be able to buy and sell services on an auciton house similar to how goods are bought and sold now.  Motivation to use the service economy will be provided by making it possible for the richer players to make money by employing poorer players as freelance adventurers, workman etc.  For example, "I will provide you the resources to explore dungeon X, but 50% of all treasure you find in the dungeon goes to me."
  4. Open-ended advancement - Not necessarily a skill-based advancement system, but the advancement system will be designed so that any character can eventually learn everything in the game, though NOT AT ONE TIME.  There will be some kind of cap."

keitholi would like to see a Wheel of Time MMO, turns out hes in luck:

An MMO based off the Wheel of Time saga, by Robert Jordan. Given the detail of that world and culture laid out by the late Robert Jordan, I think it would be a great way to break the mold of the traditional MMO and its holy trinity of classes (tank, healer, dps). It could also include a system like diplomacy, from Vanguard, due to the amount of politics and "game of houses" described in the books. I know a company picked up the rights to an MMO shortly after Jordans death but I am not sure what, if anything, has been done since. It really could make for an incredible game as long as developers like Turbine or Cryptic (My 2 shining examples of developers who failed, on an epic proportion, to deliver when they had an awesome IP to start from) stay far far away.

$50 Million would be a good start, but I would love to pump even more into a longer development cycle, to make sure the IP is given its due diligence.

firefly2003 practically prepares a design document:

"Hybrid Themepark/Sandbox MMO -2 Region Controlled Servers 1st Server (U.S and South America-Europe-Africa-Austrailia) 2nd Server (Asia, Japan, Middle East, Koreas) 2nd Server I proposed to keep RMT and gold spamming and purchasing in game limited to the East.

Solo-Friendly

Group Friendly (Incentives for Grouping XP, Yield Better Drop Rates and Loot)

Time Skill Based System (ex. EVE Online) or Regular Skill Based with no Cap

In-Depth Crafting (ex.SWG) and Resource Gathering , Expermination, Resource Quality, Ground and Space Resources Everything is Craftable From Starships Ranging From A Fighter Craft Up To A Guild Controlled Capital Ship Fully Customizable, Clothes, Food, Weapons, Equipment, Armor, Furniture, Houses and Structures. Skinning.

Quests (Dyanmic Questing and Random Hidden Npcs To Recieve Rare Quests, Plus Regular Ol Static Quests)

Sidekicking- Enabling Players to Help Out Noobs in Already Completed Quests

Diplomacy and Reputation with NPC races and NPCs

Player Housing (Non-Instanced) Limitations would be set housing is only allowed on Capital Planets housing will not be allowed on quest or mission based planets to address lag and latency issues, also a remove housing feature which would be policed by players to remove abandoned housing after 3 months of account inactivity to address ghost towns and abandoned structures or a simple server reset that checks in the database of players inactive past 3 months and removes structures.

Housing would be similar to SWG's with fully customizable options and the ability to decorate, also would like to add the option to create own housing structures from scratch for those that like to dabble in creating new things.

Space Station (Guild Player Housing) For those who rather brave the depths of space than live life on the ground these (Guild) housings would be completely buildable and customizable to suit a guilds needs. (Military Themed Starbase, Trading Post, Pirate, etc)

Open Universe and Open World PVP-Consensual and FFA PVP) Here's the thing I would address with the problem people Have With FFA PVP, a good example is EVE set up the universe in terrorities set up for FFA PVP play and other terrorities you would enter disable FFA PVP to strike a balance and address griefing in safe ground and space, however if you choose to take on FFA PVP terrorities and the Guilds that inhabit them great risk and great reward will be a objective here, extremely rare spawns but spawn in great quantiy out in lawless space along with hidden mission NPCs on planets and stations, extremely dangerous NPCs will reside out here yielding great rewards as well.

Raiding (Ground Only)

4 Factions

Full On 3D Space Combat (a Mix of  X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter, Freelancer, and X-3) Fully Customizable Ship Interiors

Space will be a optional asset to the game Missions will be either space or ground focused neither will cross into each others domain.

Polish

Future Expansions- Non Combat Professions  and Jobs, Minigames (Fishing, Gambling, Enteraining, Music,) More Skills, Balancing and Bug Fixes, More Ground Raids, Possible Planetary Defenses for FFA Terrorities, Atmospheric Flight, Military Bases, Labs, Basically things that would make the ultimate MMO, input from community would be helpful to keep both sandbox and themepark players happy."

I'm pretty torn on what I'd do with an MMO, to be honest, this is a really tired suggestion, but were it up to me it would honestly be an MMO in the same vein as Star Wars Galaxies, only up to 2010+ standards. Better graphics, much more action-based gameplay (Guild Wars 2 is a good example here), and if it were set in the Star Wars universe, I'd want it set post-Return of the Jedi but pre-New Jedi Order. Otherwise, I'd want to see a World of Darkness MMO done along these lines, and thankfully sandbox experts CCP Games are already doing a WoD MMO, so I can only hope. :)

What kind of MMO would you create if you had the budget and team to make one? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

No Troubleshooting Required

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday October 19 2010 at 9:01PM
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I recently picked up a PC title I've been waiting for for some time.  I won't say the name, as I don't feel like picking on them and that's partly because I haven't yet played the game.  You see... I have a fairly decent system at home. Nothing epic, but more than capable of running the game in question.  I can play just about anything that comes out at high settings still, even though it's probably time I upgraded my video card and installed more than 3GB of RAM.  It's not a beast, but it gets the job done.

So why will just this one game not work? Why can't the company's help-desk seem to narrow down any possibilities?  What if I was reviewing this game for them?  If I was, it would certainly feature quite a bit of initial complaining about the difficulty I had in just getting the game installed and running.  And that to me is the worst possible first impression... not even able to get it running despite exceeding the recommended specs.

Think about some of this era's most successful PC games.  Aside from excellent gameplay they all have something a little less noticeable in common: they are easy to set up, and easy get running.  They don't hang long when loading, they don't require a lot of milling about on forums to track down technical solutions.  They simply play, and let you play.

So I'll keep this week's blog short and to the point.  If you want your game to be success in a dog-eat-dog PC market?  Make sure it works properly on the widest range of systems possible before the ship date.

Community Spotlight: Your Favorite MMO Classes

Posted by MikeB Thursday October 14 2010 at 5:01PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "Your top three best classes from any MMORPG" by Creslin321. Creslin321 is no stranger to the spotlight, having been spotlighted in a previous week, but this time he wants to find out what your favorite three MMO classes are. Creslin321 kicks things off with his top three:

"1. Herald of Xotli - Age of Conan.  The HOX was hands down one of the most fun damage dealing classes to play.  Extremely high damage, extremely low health, every fight when fast and dangerous.  They also got tons of cool abilities like the ability to transform into a demon.  Topping everything off was the fact that they had a move called "I eat your heart" in which they rip the heart out of your chest Indiana Jones style and take a bite!

2. Druid - World of Warcraft.  The WoW druid was so much fun because it could do just about anything.  It was a tank with bear form, a melee DPS with cat form, and magic DPS/healing in regular druid form.  Put this on top of a bunch of other shapeshifting abilities and you have a great class.

3. Bard - Everquest 1.  The EQ1 bard was tons of fun to play, and bard classes sadly aren't included in most modern MMOs.  The bard was awesome at kiting, it could even "swarm kite" where it charmed one monster only to have 10 other monsters beat the crap out of it and soften it up so the bard could get to kill.  How cool is that!"

Rydeson also loved the Druid, though he seems to prefer the EverQuest 1 version:

"Oh what the heck.. I'll bite..

1) Druid - Everquest 1 (pre PoP) = I loved that ability to travel the world in a blink of an eye.. port here, port there.. SoW anyone?  I loved it..  I could toss out heals in a crunch.. I could group or solo depending on my mood.. It was truely a hybrid jack of all trades class.. As us druids would say back in the day, "If I can snare it, I own it".. How true that was.. LOL

2) Necromancer - Everquest 1 = I'm a pet class fan, and there was no better master to this then a Necro.. I loved everything about being a Neco.. leaching, dotting, pulling, dpsing.. 

3) Hunter - World of Warcraft = Having a tanking pet while I dps from a distance, with the ability to solo almost anything was great.. I was always a fan of pet classes, and it was great to customize what pet you had by what you trained.. KUDO's on this one..

There probably another 3 classes from different games that are close 4th place ties from EQ2, Aion and LoTRO..  However.. ALERT.. I saw some previews of classes from GW2 and hubba hubba .. :)  Top 3 could change.."

insanex couldn't decide on just three, so he offered five:

"1. Warden - LoTRO

    The warden is an awesome class that transcends the auto-attack nature of most MMOs. You can heal yourself (with the proper gambit), go stealth, backstab, can melee strong with a shield, and have both offensive and defensive gambits. It takes some paying attention to get the gambit you need in a given situation. 

2. Shaman - Dark Age of Camelot

    The shaman in DAoC is the quintessential multi-purpose class. You could spec in cave - DPS - and still get a wide range of healing and buff abilities, plus you could handle yourself in a melee situation. Best all-around useful class I've ever played.

3. Agent - Anarchy Online

    The agent in AO is the epitome of cool. You get some sweet shades, cool clothes, and a flying vehicle and you got it made. You look like someone from the Matrix. The sniper and debuff/root skills were awesome, and even though the first 60 levels or so were fairly tough without a ton of cash for better equipment, the agent is a blast to play.

4. Metaphysicist - Anarchy Online

    The MP is an awesome multi-pet class that was good with nanos (basically spells) and could have up to 3 (IIRC) pets that were physical manifestations of your own emotions. (one of the first you get is a DPS pet called the Anger Manifestation) You could have a healing pet, a mezz pet, and a damage pet. At lower levels you had one, and worked your way up. Very fun to play. 

5. Marksman - Hellgate: London

    HG:L was not your traditional MMO, but it falls in the MMO genre just as well as any big-name like WoW, IMO. THe marksman was a flat-out awesome ranged killer. He was a blast to play with all the different elemental weapons with the usual array of rocket launchers, snipers, SMGs, rifles, and so on. Marksman armor looked downright cool, and in spite of lower health than the melee classes, could hold his own very well. A blast to play. I had a lvl 28 one before the servers shut down."

Below you'll find my top three MMO classes:

1. Brutes (City of Villains): Sometimes you just want to SMASH things! City of Villain's Brutes offered this in spades. While Scrappers provided a balanced melee experience, it was when Brutes were introduced with the launch of City of Villains that players really got to feel powerful. Brutes built up rage as they attack and are attacked, ramping up their damage to scary levels if players can keep the SMASH going. While Scrappers could leisurely pick mobs apart, Brutes were rewarded for the kind of frenetic pace one would expect from someone fueled by rage.

2. Dominators (City of Villains): Yep, back to City of Villains again. Dominators have had a bit of a tumultuous history in the game, going from kind of an odd mix of blaster and controller with a mechanic that gave them a real Jekyll and Hyde kind of feel to something that is much more consistent and fun to play. Dominators offer strong control through a variety of CC related powersets and can also really lay down the hurt with a Blaster like mix of ranged and melee attacks.

3. Ranger (Star Wars Galaxies): Rangers in general are my favorite type of class to play, and while the SWG Ranger didn't make use of a bow-and-arrow, I found it to be one of the truest implementations of the class. The Ranger in SWG was a real master of the wilderness in just about every way, and offered groups a lot of interesting utility from being able to track creatures, to assembling useful traps and more. The Ranger combined well with other classes such as the Rifleman to really bring the fantasy Ranger spirit to a sci-fi setting.

So what are your top three favorite MMO classes? Share your picks in the comments below!

Pirates have invaded my Wii

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday October 12 2010 at 3:58PM
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Every so often, I like to use my blog for what I’m currently playing.  So forgive the fact that this blog’s not exactly MMO related.  I promise it’s a rare diversion from the norm.

I’m a big fan of Sid Meier’s classic Pirates!, and have spent many days with the updated PC version that came out a few years ago from 2K games.  Well, apparently the publisher hasn’t forgotten about the IP and has seen fit to have the title updated for the Wii.  Sure with games like Dead Rising 2, Halo: Reach, and soon Fallout: New Vegas I should be thinking of other pursuits, but a good game is a good game and that’s exactly what Pirates! for the Wii is… even if it is a little lacking in new additions.

All the stuff I loved about the PC version is there, and they even saw fit to throw in some new features.  Like a Wii-mote controlled shooting volley game, and the fact that a 2nd player (IE: my fiancée) can pick up another Wii-mote and join in on some of the mini-games like dancing and sword fights.  During the latter the 2nd player acts as your parrot to help take down the rival captains. 

The visuals are largely the same as the PC version and translate well to the Wii, except for the fact that stretching them out to a 42” HDTV winds up making the title look more dated than it really is.  The music doesn’t help matters either.  Though evocative of the era, it also sounds really low-budget as if someone made the tracks on their keyboard in a basement.  It’s one of those things that could have been updated when porting the game to the Wii, but was obviously not a necessity.  I find myself turning on Flogging Molly when playing, and turning down the music in the game. 

The only real qualms I have with the Wii version so far is that it seems to me like they didn’t put enough effort into taking advantage of the Wii’s motion capabilities.  You turn your ship with the d-pad, when instead you should be able to twist your wrist.  You control the sails with the press of a button, when perhaps a wrist jerk up or down would work better.  You also don’t have any control over the distance of your cannon shots, when the obvious use of the pointing with the Wii-mote is totally missed. 

In short, Pirates! on the Wii is a perfectly capable port of the classic PC game.  All the depth and fun of the original is there.  Just don’t expect much more than that.  If you’ve already loved it to death elsewhere, then it’s probably best as a rental for the Wii.  It is good however to get my future bride playing as my subservient parrot.  Just don’t tell her I said that.

NY Comicon Round Up

Posted by garrett Tuesday October 12 2010 at 2:03PM
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This past weekend we hosted online game panels at NY Comicon. The convention drew up to 95,000 attendees. Gaining close to the numbers presented by San Diego, the convention continues to grow.
I want to take the time in this blog to thank all of the game companies who presented at the show. Trion Worlds, NCSoft, Paragon Studios, ArenaNet, SOE, The Amazing Society, and Gazillion all were on hand to show off their games.  Nothing is better than having some of the top upcoming MMOs on a panel with a room full of fans.
 
Speaking of fans, they really come first. Fans turned out in force packing the panel room for our Future of Online Games panel at the end of the day. It certainly helped that we had top folks on there to answer questions and interact with you, the players.
 
I have always felt strongly that MMO developers should interact with their fans. While some people in the industry feel differently, I think that with the hours you spend playing an MMO, you deserve the chance to talk to the creators first hand. It is part of the core reason we set up the panels at NY Comicon. So that fans can talk to devs, we simply try to help.
 
Overall I learned that players and devs are pretty similar and we all have a passion for games. We hope to have video for all of you of the panels. As well as follow up interviews and features on the site in case you did not make it to NY this past weekend.
 
Thanks again to everyone, including the MMORPG staff and volunteers for helping out. Next year, hopefully you’ll be able to attend the con and have a great time in the process.

Community Spotlight: What Clan Will You Play in the World of Darkness MMO?

Posted by MikeB Thursday October 7 2010 at 4:28PM
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This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "World of Darkness MMO... What clan will you play?" by Souldrainer. CCP recently unveiled the World of Darkness MMO that they've been working on for some time now and fans are already excited. While the game isn't due out for some time, there's nothing wrong with a little wishful thinking. To that end, Souldrainer uses his thread to poll the community on the clan they hope to play as in the WoD MMO:

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clans_in_Vampire:_the_Masquerade

So... with all of the options open to you, whatcha' gonna' pick?"

CactusJack is more of a Werewolf fan, and (unsurprisingly) prefers the bestial Gangrel, though he feels the Toreador and Ventrue are worthy candidates as well:

"Not sure what i'd play...i played tabletop Werewolf more than V:TM. I did play V:TM on PC and it was great. I personally am hoping for werewolves as well and I would choose a Silent Strider or Get of Fenris. I think all of these changed in the second Garou book..i played the first one. As for playing a vamp...i liked gangrels but for rp'ing a Ventrue or a Toredor seems like fun. I think they all will be balanced combat wise so it really won't matter..hopefully.

I too am disgusted at the lack of combat ability of the werewolves on TrueBlood. It's a good show, but that was a bit surprising..and for them to be subservient to vamps....bah. I scoff at the notion. I imagine crafting will be something quite interesting in this game as well....with all the different talisman's and fetishes i can remember from the werewolf series.

We shall see."

Adamantine prefers the Toreador:

"For the moment, my most likely choice is Toreador.

At least thats what I ended up playing in VtMB - very good social skills, and very good combat skills.

Of course, I guess you can play multiple characters, so I'm going to have other clans as well.

Malkavian, Nosferatu and Tremere are no-brainers in that respect.

Tzimisce might be interesting too, depending upon how they are implemented - I think its quite hard to implement them well."

The thread's OP, Souldrainer, prefers the Lasombra or the flesh-crafting Tzimisce:

"Like others have said, your clan is basically your character race.  I actually favor Requiem over the Masquerade due to the faction breakdown, but I love the Sabbat, and when it comes to Werewolves and Mages, I prefer the OWOD over the NWOD.

Assuming that Vamps will be the only playable genre at launch, I am going either Tzimisce or Lasombra.  The former clan is so utterly alien and Darwinian that they push the boundaries of brutality, while the latter is basically Ventrue's badass cousin, and happens to be the clan of my most successful LARP character (and it was a real meat grinder LARP... reaching 50 exp was godly).  If Sabbat is not playable, I will have to settle for a Nos Anarch ;)

When mages and Werewolves join the fray,  I will probably roll Red Talon tribe.  Shh... they are suspected of eating (burp) humans."

My three favorite IPs are Star Wars, World of Darkness, and Marvel comics (well, Batman from DC too!), so it should come as no surprise that I am pretty excited to see what CCP does with their MMO treatment of the franchise. As for what clan I would like to play in World of Darkness, I lean a bit towards the more independent clans such as the Assamite, Ravnos, and Setite. From the Camarilla, the always interesting (and challenging!) to play Malkavian and the blue-blooded Ventrue are some of my favorites.

What clan do you hope to play in the World of Darkness MMO? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Vindictus - Forced Grouping Is Fun?

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday October 5 2010 at 4:20PM
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 I’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time over the past few days playing Vindictus’ Early Access to Open Beta.  It’s one of those games that really impressed me at E3 and continues to do so now.  It’s not super-complicated, it’s not a big open world MMO, it’s more about action, items, and storyline than anything else.  If you think Diablo + God of War, you’d probably be along the right lines. 

The physics and combat are top notch, even though the action can get a little repetitive this far into my career as a Crimson Blade (I’m only level 11).  Basically the action with Lann (the dual-wielding speedy character) amounts to a lot of left and right mouse-clicking with a fair amount of dodging via the spacebar.  But there’s no real skills like you may be used to.  It’s all a little more twitchy, but doesn’t require as much aiming skill as a shooter.

Except when you want to really hone in a spear toss. 

Oh yeah, you get spears, grappling hooks, bombs.  It’s like a really violent Zelda game.  In fact tossing spears and other ranged weapons wind up being the most important factor in boss fights.  And until about level 9, you might not find yourself having much trouble with the game’s boss mobs. 

At this point you’ll be tasked with the mission “A Decisive Battle”.  There’s a main town hub in Vindictus where all players congregate, advance the story in, sell, craft, check mail, etc.  But in order to see action, you’ll go to the docks, select a specific mission or “battle” and launch a ship to travel there.  You can also see other players’ ships preparing to launch, and join their party if there’s room available.  And for “A Decisive Battle”, unless you’re higher level or playing as Fiona, you might want to do just that. 

Lann doesn’t have the shield to put up with the onslaught from the mission’s Gnoll Chieftan boss (or maybe I just suck hardcore).  So eventually, though I’m generally a solo player, I realized it’d be best to join a party and take him on.  I found one leaving at the same time I was looking for one, joined them and despite some lag, we trounced the bugger.  Spears, hooks, and bombs stunned him from all angles and I think I was the only one who died after my helmet got busted off my head. 

That’s the reason I titled this post as you see above.  Maybe I just suck, or am too weak right now, but “A Decisive Battle” wound up being a battle that pretty much necessitated the help of some fellow players.  Consider it like an “Elite Quest” from WoW’s glory days.  Only in this case to advance the story line you actually needed to beat this particular battle. 

But here’s the kicker.

Unlike in many MMOs, where grouping with strangers is a hassle, in Vindictus, thanks to the arcade action and perhaps simplified mechanics, I found it an absolute riot just as I did at E3.  The game’s a lot of fun, even solo, but if you really want a blast you should at least find a partner to team up with.  Even if only for the really hard tasks.